Pirates In Paradise - Day 1
March 4, 2010
Aloha Pirate Nation,
Welcome to Honolulu, Hawai’i, and the East Carolina softball team’s spring break trip through the Aloha State and California.
The Pirates in Paradise blog will give you an inside look at the action off the field over the next 12 days. ECU Assistant Director of Athletics Media Relations Sarah Fetters and selected players will be posting daily updates with news and information on what the Pirates have been doing since their arrival in Hawai’i.
During the team’s five days in the Aloha State, seniors Cristen Aona, Charina Sumner and Kaui Tom will be blogging about the trip to their home state. Classmate Marina Gusman-Brown and freshman Kai Clark are also from Hawai’i and will be adding their thoughts. Monday night when we head to California, junior pitcher Toni Paisley will join me in the blog effort.
We got into the plane only to sit on the runway for 45 minutes while our aircraft, along with five others, had to be deiced due to the snow. As a result, our two-hour layover in Atlanta turned into a one-hour stop.
After getting some breakfast at the Atlanta airport, we boarded the plane to Honolulu at 10:30 a.m. It was by far the biggest plane I had ever been on. There were two seats, an aisle, three or four seats, depending on the row, and then another aisle with two more seats. All told, there were 44 rows.
Thankfully, the plane wasn’t too full, so everybody could spread out and not be crammed next to each other. The players certainly enjoyed being able to stretch out.
Once again, however, it was not in the cards for us to actually leave as scheduled. This time was worse than in Raleigh as we sat without moving for an hour and 15 minutes. We were told this delay had to do with a weight ratio issue that the computer was having trouble fixing. For such a long wait, people were very calm. I think knowing the final destination helped everybody remain cool-headed.
Finally, we pushed back and were on our way. The pilot said it would be a nine-hour-and-27-minute flight that covered 4,417 miles. So what exactly does a person do on a 567-minute flight?
First, you try to stay up as long as possible the night before so you can sleep … a lot. About 90 minutes into the trip, just west of St. Louis, I woke up to be served a lunch of chicken, potatoes, corn and a piece of bread.
Aside from eating and sleeping, the plane had movies to watch on the television screen that was in front of each seat. I viewed George Clooney’s Up In The Air and Jennifer Aniston’s Love Happens.
Reading also helped pass the time. Call me old-school, but I’m newspaper fan, so I picked up a copy of the Atlanta Journal Constitution and also caught up on my back issues of Sports Illustrated.
One of the best features of the plane was a map on the TVs. The program would continually update our location on a map with a green line marking our course. We could also check out the outside air temperature, estimated time of arrival, total distance traveled, air speed and, most importantly the later it got in the flight, time remaining until touchdown. Generally, we flew at around 570 miles per hour with the air temperature hovering at -77 degrees.
We eventually landed in Honolulu at 4:55 p.m. local time, which was 9:55 p.m. on the east coast. Yes, it was a very long day of travel.
As soon as we found the baggage claim area, we were met by the families of our five Hawaiian players. We were all given flower leis to wear and received a very warm welcome.
We collected our bags and then loaded into the four sport utility vehicles we’ll be using to get around the island this week.
Next, we stopped at Zippy’s for some dinner. It is the only restaurant I’ve ever been to where I could order chili, mahi mahi, spaghetti and hot dogs at the same time. (Check out the menu here.) It certainly offers a little of everything.
After dinner we just headed back to the hotel, checked in and went to sleep after the long day.
Tomorrow, the team will have an afternoon practice before heading to a luau in the evening.